Trump marks Kelly's one-year mark as departure rumors swirl

Lamar Ellis
August 1, 2018

Kelly has been an influential force in the White House. Kelly reportedly knew about the allegations but kept Porter on the job anyway.

If Kelly were to fulfill his commitment, he would extend his tenure as Trump's second chief of staff in a position that frequently churns through seasoned pols in a year or two.

The president later mentioned his top aide's service on Twitter with a photo of the two men smiling and standing side by side. "I like John a lot", Mr. Trump told reporters, when asked how long Kelly would stay.

Kelly is identified with the administration's childhood separation policy, which prompted a rare reversal.

After the blowback and the change in policy, Trump railed against Democrats who called to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement. But in recent weeks Trump signaled a willingness to retain Kelly in the job, believing that he could simply overrule the chief of staff with little cost.

There was also widespread speculation that Kelly would quit after the fallout over former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who resigned after his two ex-wives accused him of domestic abuse.

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He's fired several staffers including former Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci and aide Omarosa Manigault Newman.

By announcing Trump's request ― an apparent seal of approval for Kelly's job performance ― the administration may have been attempting to quell perennial reports of Kelly's demise and tensions with his boss.

In the past, Trump has been coy about Kelly's role going forward.

July saw Trump inveighing against traditional North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies on defense spending, undercutting British Prime Minister Theresa May, and standing by Russian President Vladimir Putin's "powerful" defense against election hacking.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations.

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